L.A. Restaurants

20 Cold Dishes in Los Angeles to Beat the Summer Heat

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Fri, Jul 11, 2014 at 6:00 AM
click to enlarge Uni bowl at Maruhide Uni Club - ANNE FISHBEIN
  • Anne Fishbein
  • Uni bowl at Maruhide Uni Club
What the hell is going on with this summer? It was triple digits for weeks on end in MAY, for chrissakes. And we can expect it to continue to hit those kinds of highs for months still to come. 

We don't know about you, but we only want to eat cold things when the weather gets like this. With that in mind, we compelled a list of 20 fantastic cold dishes to get you through the summer — and maybe the fall as well, the way this year is going. 

click to enlarge Ceviche at Tacos Baja Ensenada - CHRISTINE CHIAO
  • Christine Chiao
  • Ceviche at Tacos Baja Ensenada
20. Ceviche at Tacos Baja Ensenada
While the East L.A. favorite on the corner of Whittier and Oakford may be a Baja-style taquería by name, its regulars are as prone to stop by for the ceviche. The line queues up quickly at Tacos Baja Ensenada, but it can move just as fast. The time will pass by in an instant anyhow; debates with your friend on whether fish, shrimp or a mix of both makes the better ceviche tends to swallow up the wait. Five dollars will buy the standard order of one fish taco and a ceviche. Ceviche comes scooped onto a sturdy tostada; anything less wouldn't hold up the marinade. 5385 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 887-1980.

click to enlarge Bulgarini - JESSICA A. KOSLOW
  • Jessica A. Koslow
  • Bulgarini
19. Gelato at Bulgarini
Leo Bulgarini is a gelato connoisseur. He studied gelato-making in Italy and imports his almonds from Sicily and chocolate from France. For the new macadamia flavor that's in the works, he traveled to Hawaii. At their original Altadena location, foreign films such as Matrimonio all'italiana, are screened free for the public every Saturday night at sundown through August 31. The newer Culver City location looks more like a coffee shop, as it in fact was before Bulgarini took it over. The ice cream case stands just inside the front door, greeting customers with colorful gelato and sorbets. Bulgarini offers three kinds of chocolate — salted, regular and orange flavor — and customer favorites are the standard chocolate chip, almond and vanilla. 8686 Washington Blvd., Culver City; 310-815-1723; 749 E. Altadena Dr., Altadena; 626-791-6174.

click to enlarge Papaya Salad at Krua Siri. - G. SNYDER
  • G. Snyder
  • Papaya Salad at Krua Siri.
18. Papaya Salad at Krua Siri
The som tum is a bright crunchy mixture of unripened green papaya dressed with lime juice, fish sauce, and a blazing handful of dried pulverized bird's eye chiles. What sets this version apart, aside from its formidable funky tartness, is the translucent slivers of raw, slightly cured shrimp bobbing in the jade-colored liquid like Mexican aguachile. The aroma of low-tide and citrus is enough to inspire tropical fever dreams, especially when the kitchen can be persuaded into tossing in a bit of raw blue crab. Did we mention you can have this delivered at 3 a.m.? 5103 Hollywood Blvd. Hollywood; 323-660-6196.

click to enlarge Uni and Burrata at Son of a Gun - B. RODELL
  • B. Rodell
  • Uni and Burrata at Son of a Gun
17. Uni and Burrata at Son of a Gun
Son of a Gun's uni and burrata is as simple as it is brilliant: Pieces of sea urchin are layered over tufts of milky burrata, the orange uni standing out against the stark white backdrop of the cheese. The plate is garnished with a few crunchy light green lettuce leaves, slivers of button mushroom (Is there an ingredient more underrated than the button mushroom?) and the bright citrusy ping of yuzu. But the real magic of the dish is in the way the two creamy textures play against and meld into one another — one the pure essence of ocean; the other, the unadulterated expression of everything good about dairy. It's a highly sensory experience, and one that stays with you for days. 8370 W. 3rd St. Beverly Grove; 323-782-9033.

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